LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) — A security guard whose online posts talked about following a good and religious life remained jailed Tuesday on suspicion of shooting to death his four children, including an infant, and their grandmother at their Southern California home.
Authorities haven’t released a possible motive for the weekend attack in Lancaster, a city in the Antelope Valley high desert community north of Los Angeles.
The mother returned home Sunday night to find the bodies of the children, all of whom were under the age of 12, and their grandmother and called 911, authorities said.
Grace Beltran, who lives three houses away, said a woman ran back and forth in their front yard, screaming, “My babies are gone! They’re all dead!”
Germarcus David, 29, turned himself in to Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies within minutes of his wife’s arrival at home. He remained jailed on $2 million bail and was expected to make an initial court appearance on Tuesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
The victims were shot in the upper torso and died at the scene. Authorities did not identify them but Waki Jones, who worked with the family through his Lancaster daycare service, told the Los Angeles Times that the two eldest children were Amaya, 12, and Demarcus, 9.
“Amaya was a sweet girl, and every morning, the mom would tell her, ‘Say good morning to coach,’” Jones said, meaning himself. “She was always protecting her brother, making sure he was safe at school.”
“To do this to the kids, it’s cowardly. It’s just unbelievable,” he told the Times.
The other victims were an infant, a child under 12 and the grandmother, who was in her 50s and who was at the home babysitting, authorities said.
Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said he wasn’t aware of any previous reports of domestic violence at the home.
David was a licensed security guard and held a permit to carry a gun but it expired in August 2020 and was listed as canceled, according to records from the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, which regulates the private security industry.
What appeared to be David’s Facebook page includes a photograph of a crucifix and posts from late October and earlier this month offering spiritual and moral views.
“Just know that God loves you when you feel unloved for,” David said in a Nov. 16 post.
“The love I give will overflow from one heart to the next as a gift that keeps giving. I will be one of the reasons that others believe in the true goodness of this world,” David posted on Oct. 27, adding: “THAT is what I want my legacy to be. THAT is what I want my children to grow up seeing.”
The killings happened in a neighborhood of tidy, modern homes, some decorated for Christmas.
James Martin, 32, who lives nearby, said the deaths broke his heart.
“I don’t understand it,” he said. “I know things get rough but it’s never worth it to take the life — lives — of anybody.”
Associated Press writer John Antczak in Los Angeles and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.